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of his GoD-behold how he was forsaken !" It is not unreasonable, to ascribe some such pious and more disinterested motive to Hezekiah's desire of life, from the issue and success of his prayer-For it came to pass, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah, I have heard his prayer, I have seen his tears, and behold I will heal him.
It was upon this occasion, as we read in the 12th verse of this chapter, that Barądock-baladan, son of Baladine king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah :—He had heard the fame of his sickness and recovery ;for as the Chaldeans were great searchers into the secrets of nature, especially into the motions of the celestial bodies, in all probability, they had taken notice at that distance, of the strange appearance of the shadow's returning ten degrees backwards upon their dials, and had inquired and learned upon what account, and in whose favor such a sign was given ;-so that this astronomical miracle besides the political motive which it would suggest, of courting such a favorite of heaven, had been sufficient, by itself, to have led a curious people as far as Jerusalem, that they might see the man for whose sake the sun had forsook his course. And here we see how hard it is to stand the shock of prosperity,--and how much truer a proof we give of our strength, in that extreme of life, than in the other,
In all the trials of adversity, we find, that Hezekiah behaved well,-nothing unmanned him, When besieged by the Assyrian host, which shut him up in Jerusalem, and threatened his destruction, he stood unshaken, and depended upon GOD's succor: When cast down upon his bed of sickness, and threatened with death,-he meekly turned his face towards the wall, wept and prayed,
and depended upon God's mercy :-But, no soon. er does prosperity return upon him, and the messengers from a far country come to pay the flattering homage due to his greatness, and the extraordinary felicity of his life, but he turns giddy, and sinks under the weight of his good fortune, and, with a transport unbecoming a wise man upon it, it is said he harkened unto the men, and showed them all the house of his precious things, the silver and the gold, the spices and the precious ointments, and all the house of his armor, I and all that was found in his treasures ;- -that there was nothing in his house, nor in his dominions, that Hezekiah showed them not-for tho' it is not expressly said here, (tho' it is in the parallel passage in Chronicles), nor is he charged by the prophet, that he did this out of vanity, and a weak transport of ostentation ;-yet as we are sure GoD could not be offended but where there was a real crime, we might reasonably conclude that this was his : And that He who searches into the heart of man, beheld, that his was corrupted with the blessings he had given him ;· -and, that it was just, to make what was the occasion of his pride become the instrument of his punishment, by decreeing, that all the riches he had laid up in store until that day, should be carried away in triumph to Babylon, the very place from whence the messengers had come, who had been eye witnesses of his folly.
"O Hezekiah ! -how couldst thou provoke "GOD to bring this judgment upon thee! How "could thy spirit, all meek and gentle as it was, "have ever fallen into this snare? Were thy "treasures rich as the earth-What! was thy "heart so vain as to be lifted up therewith? "Was not all that was valuable in the world
nay, was not heaven itself almost at thy com"mand whilst thou wast humble? and, how was
"it that thou couldst barter away all this for "what was lighter than a bubble, and desecrate an action so full of courtesy and kindness as "thine appeared to be, by suffering it to take its "rise from so polluted a fountain ?"
There is scarce any thing which the heart more unwillingly bears than an analysis of this kind.
We are a strange compound;-and something foreign from what charity would suspect, so eternally twists itself into what we do, that, not only in momentous concerns, where interest lists underit all the powers of disguise,-but even in the most indifferent of our actions-not worth a fallacy by force of habit, we continue it :-So that whatever a man is about, observe him,—he stands armed, inside and out with two motives;— an ostensible one for the world, and another which he reserves for his own private use ;this, you may say, the world has no concern with: It might have been so ;-but, by obtruding the wrong motive upon the world, and stealing from it a character, instead of winning one,-we give it a right and temptation along with it, to inquire into the affair.
The, motives of the one, for doing it, are often little better than the other for deserving it. Let us see if some social virtue may not be extracted from the errors of both the one and the other.
VANITY bids all her sons to be generous and bravé,and her daughters to be chaste and courteous. But, why do we want her instructions?-Ask the comedian who is taught a part he feels not.—
Is it that the principles of religion want strength -or that the real passion for what is good and worthy, will not carry us high enough?-God ! thou knowest they carry us too high-we want, not to be but to seem
Look out of your door,take notice of that man: See what disquieting, intriguing and shiftVOL. III.
ing, he is content to go thro', merely to be thought a man of plain dealing : -Three grains of honesty would save him all this trouble :-Alas! he has them not
Behold a second, under a show of piety, hiding the impurities of a debauched life :—— He is just entering the house of Gon:——— -Would he was more pure—or less pious :-But then he could not gain his point.
Observe a third, going on almost in the same track:With what an inflexible sanctity of deportment he sustains himself as he advances !every line in his face writes abstinence;-every stride looks like a check upon his desires :-See, I beseech you, how he is cloaked up with sermons, prayers and sacraments; and so bemuffled with the externals of religion, that he has not a hand to spare for a worldly purpose :-He has armor at least. Why does he put it on ?-Is there no serving GoD without all this?-Must the garb of religion be extended so wide, to the danger of its rending?-Yes, truly, or it will not hide the secret-and, What is that?
-That the saint has no religion at all.
But here comes GENEROSITY; giving-not to a decayed artist-but to the arts and sciences themselves.- —See,—he builds not a chamber in the wall apart for the prophet; but whole schools and colleges for those who come after. LORD! how they will magnify his name!-it is in capitals already ;--the first-the highest, in the gilded rent-roll of every hospital and asylum
-One honest tear, shed in private over the unfortunate, is worth it all. dis
What a problematical set of creatures does simulation make us!-Who would divine, that all that anxiety and concern, so visible in the airs of one half of the great assembly, should arise from nothing else, but that the other half of it may
think them to be men of consequence, penetration, parts, and conduct ?-What a noise amongst the claimants about it?Behold Humility out of mere pride ;- -and Honesty, almost out of knavery Chastity, never once in harm's way,-and Courage like a Spanish soldier upon an Italian stage a bladder full of wind..
-Hark! that the sound of that trumpet-Let not my soldier run:-It is some good Christian giving alms. O, PITY! thou gentlest of human passions! soft and tender are thy notes, and ill accord they with so loud an instrument.
Thus, something jars, and will for ever jar, in these cases; imposture is all dissonance, let what master soever of it undertake the part; let him harmonize and modulate it as he may, one tone will contradict another; and, whilst we have ears to hear, we shall distinguish it: It is truth only which is consistent, and ever in harmony with itself: It sits upon our lips, like the natural notes of some melodies, ready to drop out, whether we will or no; it racks no invention to let ourselves alone; and needs fear no critic, to have the same excellency in the heart which appears in the action.
It is a pleasing allusion the scripture makes use of, in calling us sometimes a house, and sometimes a temple according to the more or less exalted qualities of the spiritual guest which is lodged within us. Whether this is the precise ground of the distinction, I will not affirm; but thus much may be said, that if we are to be temples, it is truth and singleness of heart, which must make the dedication: It is this which must first distinguish them from the unhallowed pile, where dirty tricks and impositions are practised by the host upon the traveller, who tarries but for a moment, and returns not again.
We all take notice, how close and reserved people are: But we do not take notice, at the same